2011 Prediction & Game Story
Week 12 - WAC Previews
WAC Fearless Predictions &
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Nov. 19 at BYU 42 … New Mexico State 7
(AP) PROVO, Utah -- Jake Heaps overcame an early interception and tossed four touchdown passes, including a pair to Ross Apo, as Brigham Young beat New Mexico State 42-7 Saturday night.
The win was the second straight for BYU (8-3) over a Western Athletic Conference opponent.
Heaps made his first start since Sept. 30, when he was benched after the Cougars fell behind instate rival Utah State. Replacement Riley Nelson started the next five games but broke ribs and suffered a partially collapsed lung in last week's 42-7 win over Idaho.
Heaps finished 21 of 36 for 238 yards.
Matt Christian threw a second-quarter touchdown pass to Austin Franklin that tied the score at 7 for the Aggies (4-7), but also fumbled. Christian left the game in the third quarter because of injury. A fumble by replacement Travaughn Colwell set up another BYU score.
JJ DiLuigi led BYU with 75 yards rushing in his final home game.
A 2-yard TD run by senior Matt Marshall put BYU ahead 28-7 midway through the third quarter. It was the first carry of his career.
Heaps' third touchdown pass, a 9-yarder to senior Matt Edwards, gave BYU a 35-7 lead with 3:14 left in the third quarter.
Heaps' 27-yard TD pass to JD Falslev closed out the scoring.
The Aggies were coming off a 48-45 win over Fresno State in which they rolled up 500 yards of offense.
But BYU's defense came up with several big plays when needed.
BYU's defense set up the Cougars' first score after linebacker Jadon Wagner drilled Christian with a blind-side blitz, forcing a fumble. Senior Jameson Frazier recovered on the BYU 48 with 10:16 left in the first quarter.
Heaps drove the Cougars 52 yards in 12 plays, with Bryan Kariya capping the drive with a 4-yard touchdown run. Heaps completed two third-down passes to keep the drive alive.
After Christian left the game in the third quarter with an undisclosed injury, Preston Hadley and Wagner combined to sack Colwell and force another fumble, which Wagner recovered at the New Mexico State 40 with 3:48 left in the third.
Heaps had the Cougars in the end zone again three plays later.
The score was tied at 7 before a pair of touchdown passes from Heaps to Apo.
The first capped a 90-yard drive. Heaps swung the pass wide to Apo, who picked up a block from Marcus Mathews and scored from 20 yards out. The Cougars converted three third-down plays on the drive, with Heaps completing 12-yard passes to Cody Hoffman and Falslev and Kariya picking up 10 yards on a third-and-2 burst up the middle.
Heaps' second touchdown pass was a 9-yarder to Apo with 30 seconds left in the first half. Apo was hit at the 2 but stretched out for the score.
There was plenty of good from Heaps, but he also overthrew several wide-open receivers.
His eighth interception of the year set up the Aggies' first score as Donyae Coleman jumped a route by Mathews to give New Mexico State the ball at the BYU 38.
Heaps started the season as BYU's quarterback but struggled against the more difficult opponents. In his first four starts, he completed just 55.6 percent of his passes, with five interceptions and three touchdowns as BYU started 2-2.
The more mobile Riley, a lefty, provided an instant spark, rallying BYU past Utah State and winning four of the next five, while struggling with two interceptions in a 38-28 loss at TCU.
BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall has said Nelson will get the starting job back when he returns, possibly in time for BYU's Dec. 30 bowl game. The Cougars earlier Saturday formally accepted an invitation to play in the Armed Forces Bowl against a Conference USA opponent.
BYU outgained New Mexico State 411-249, held a 173-90 edge in yards rushing and converted 10 of 14 third-down plays. The Cougars also were 6 of 7 in red-zone opportunities.
Kenny Turner led New Mexico State with 70 yards rushing on 16 carries.
Christian finished 12 of 23 for 98 yards and was sacked once. Colwell was 7 of 11 for 61 yards, with two sacks.
Apo led BYU with five catches for 66 yards.
New Mexico State (4-6) at BYU (7-3) Nov. 19, 10:15, ESPNU
Here’s The Deal … All of a sudden, New Mexico State is looking like a real, live, football team. It was competitive in a few WAC losses, and it came up with a good offensive performance in a shootout win over Fresno State last week to cement one of the best seasons the program has had in a decade. Four wins does set the bar low, but it has still been a good step forward in the DeWayne Walker era. Now it’s time to go for the gravy with a chance to get a fifth win for the first time since 2004.
BYU hasn’t been a killer, but it could use something big to define the season, with loses in the three big games to Texas, Utah, and TCU standing out as much as the seven wins. However, there’s still the bowl game to come up with something splashy and if the Cougars can win this week in the final home game, and beat Hawaii in two weeks, they’ll have a strong ten-win season with plenty to be fired up about going into next year.
Why New Mexico State Might Win: The Cougar offense hung up 42 on the board against Idaho and 56 against Idaho State, but it isn’t a juggernaut of an attack that the Aggies can’t play with in a shootout. NMSU’s defense has been a problem, to be kind, but the offense has picked up the passing pace over the second half of the season and it has the weapons and the ability wing the ball all over the yard better than BYU can. The Cougar secondary has been solid throughout the year, but it hasn’t faced a slew of top-shelf passing teams. The decent quarterbacks on the slate have been effective, even if they haven’t put up a ton of yards, but the Aggies should be able to push the BYU defense deep more than it’s used to.
Why BYU Might Win: The NMSU defense has been awful. Getting rolled over by Georgia was expected, but it was bombed on by Fresno State and Nevada and, surprisingly, run over by Hawaii. The Aggie secondary has allowed more than 1,000 yards and nine scores with no picks in the last three games, and the run defense hasn’t exactly been a rock, either, allowing 17 touchdowns in the last four outings. The big problem is a line that doesn’t get into the backfield, and the BYU offensive front isn’t likely to have many issues in pass protection after being a rock the last several weeks.
What To Watch Out For: At 6-4 and 205 pounds, BYU sophomore Cody Hoffman has excellent size and enough speed to be a dangerous kickoff returner, averaging 25 yards per try. The team’s leading receiver, he came up with his third 100-yard day last week against Idaho with six grabs for 114 yards and two scores, putting the game out of reach with a few big plays. He already passed last year’s catch total with 43 after making 42 last year, and he should put up big numbers this week against the porous Aggie secondary.
NMSU has rocked with the passing game, but the running of junior Kenny Turner has helped to balance things out. The veteran came up with his fifth 100-yard game of the season ripping off 112 yards and three touchdowns, and he continues to be used as a dangerous receiver with 42 catches on the year with 494 yards and three scores. He’ll be used in a variety of ways against the Cougar defense, and he should be the game’s most dangerous gamebreaker.
What Will Happen: The Aggies will give BYU a big push in a fun shootout, but they won’t be able to come up with enough key stops to pull off the upset. BYU will be balanced and effective at keeping the chains moving and holding on to the ball, and while NMSU will have its chances late, it won’t be able to get over the hump.
CFN Prediction: BYU 42 … New Mexico State 31
Click For Latest Line From ATS: BYU -23 O/U: 60
Navy (4-6) at San Jose State (3-7) Nov. 19, 4:00, ESPN3
Here’s The Deal … Just when it seemed like the Navy season was going into the tank with a 2-6 record after getting blown away by Notre Dame, it came up with two key wins. Beating Troy this year isn’t any big deal, but the 24-17 win at SMU last week changed things around setting the stage to try to roll through the final two games to get a bowl bid. This is the last game for three weeks before the Army showdown, and it’ll be a tougher test than it might seem.
San Jose State isn’t the San Jose State of old, even with a mediocre 3-7 record. The offense has been entertaining with a good passing attack that’s night-and-day better than last year, and while the defense has hit the skids over the last few weeks, the team has showed enough to be more than just competitive. In the final home game of the season, this will be the Spartans’ bowl game before finishing up at Fresno State, and a win would go a long way to establishing the momentum for Year Three of the Mike MacIntyre era.
Why Navy Might Win: The San Jose State defense has good, strong linebackers, but they’re not coming up with enough big plays and they’re struggling against the run. Utah State befuddled the Spartan defensive front last week with 286 yards and three scores, adding to a rough month for a run defense that’s allowed ten scores over the last four games. To have any hope of slowing down the Navy ground game, getting into the backfield is a must, and the Spartans don’t have any sort of a pass rush. SJSU is 109th in the nation in tackles for loss and 102nd in sacks.
Why San Jose State Might Win: SJSU might not have a pass rush, but Navy doesn’t have one either. There’s no pressure into the backfield whatsoever and it’s killing the already shaky secondary. The D was able to hold up well against SMU, but for the most part, teams that want to throw have been able to do it. The Spartan passing game has been red how with 300 yards or more in three of the last four games and four of the last six. The scores aren’t coming with just ten passing touchdowns on the year, but Matt Faulkner hasn’t been throwing picks and he’s been doing a good job of pushing the ball down the field. Navy’s pass defense will be under siege.
What To Watch Out For: Put the over/under on the number of Keith Smith tackles at about 13.5. The San Jose State sophomore has done what he can to help out a porous run defense, getting in on seemingly every play against Utah State with 12 tackles and with 16 stops a few weeks ago against BYU. He’s not getting into the backfield enough and he needs to make more key plays at the line and not five yards down the field, but he can chase and he can get to the runner when things aren’t being funneled his way.
Navy beat SMU by controlling the clock and pounding away with Alexander Teich up the middle. Navy pounded and pound and pounded, making SMU try to hold up on the inside allowing Kriss Proctor to fly around on the outside for 107 yards. The same formula should work against a soft SJSU defensive front that will be guessing all game long.
What Will Happen: It’ll all come down to time of possession. Navy can’t stop the San Jose State passing game, so it has to keep the attack on the sidelines. Proctor has to move the chains and he has to keep making the key decisions on third downs, and he should be able to do it just enough to offset a huge final home day from Faulkner.
CFN Prediction: Navy 40 … San Jose State 34
Click For Latest Line From ATS: Navy -4.5 O/U: 60.5
Louisiana Tech (6-4) at Nevada (6-3) Nov 19, 4:00pm
Here’s The Deal… Behold the WAC championship game. Essentially, that is what this will be. Louisiana Tech has only lost to Hawai’i, a win in Reno will put LTU at 5-1 in the WAC with the tie breaker over UNR (University of Nevada at Reno is Nevada’s proper name) who still has to play at Utah State while LTU has nothing but hosting Idaho after this game. If UNR wins, only consecutive losses over the final two games can prevent its undisputed WAC crown.
This is a key moment in WAC history. Boise is gone, UNR is going, LTU has more than just its own pride on the line it also has the WAC future on the table. UNR has been under Boise’s shadow for far too long this is its chance to shine its light un-shaded. This 2011 season will be remembered as a transition year, a buffer between what once was and what is the WAC yet to come. This one game will always stand alone as the defining game, of a unique season.
Why Nevada might win: Because the machine is up and operational. UNR has its pistol offense operating at a level where it reloads as well as Oregon in the face of injury or graduation, rather than have to rebuild for a full year. Currently, UNR fields the 5th best total offense in the nation, powered by the 7th best rush offense in the nation. The pistol whack a mole run opens up the pass and the UNR wide-outs have been most productive lead by opportunist WR Rishard Matthews who is ranked 12th in the nation in reception yards per game. The run sets up the pass, but for this game UNR could easily pass first to set up the run against LTU’s 103rd pass defense.
Cody Fajardo has this offense under his control while LTU QB Nick Isham is questionable to play and backup Colby Cameron is expected to handle the offense for the third week. Should this game get into a firefight, UNR is the better gunslinger.
Why Louisiana Tech might win: Should this game not get into a firefight, LTU has the better defense. LTU will oppose UNR’s 7th rushing offense with the nations 15th rushing defense, and that rank comes after LTU has already beaten Utah State’s 6th national rush and played Southern Mississippi’s 28th.
In general LTU is much more rounded than UNR, not only with a balanced production on defense, but special teams as well with the 10th nationally ranked punting unit to offset UNR’s 13th ranked punt return, and while LTU is 42nd in field goal production, UNR is 70th and digging deep to its third string kicker & active punter Jake Hurst has been forced to accept double duty. If this game stays close and UNR can be stalled in the red zone LTU will have an advantage.
What To Watch Out For: The Nevada offense against the Louisiana Tech defense. This is where the fireworks will happen. LTU linebackers Adrien Cole and Jay Dudley are it’s two leading tacklers and the secret to its overall defensive success. They will be sniffing around Cody Fajardo and Mike Ball all night trying to find the ball and make a play in the backfield. The Nevada Pass offense, ranked 33rd nationally against the 103rd ranked LTU pass defense is going to yield a big play or several, but if LTU can take away the UNR run then half the battle is over.
What Will Happen: The Louisiana Tech offense against the Nevada defense, because the other half looks far more favorable for LTU. LTU is 47th in scoring offense; UNR is 71st in scoring defense. The other side of the ball is where all the highlights will come from, but this side is where the game will be won or lost. LTU will be on the road and with a good, but never the less backup quarterback, while defense is not typically UNR’s best asset. UNR’s best defense will be a strong offense but LTU can score too. There should be enough of a home field advantage for UNR to get a two score lead at some point and then hold on for dear life as this game will almost certainly go for a full four quarters, maybe more.
CFN Prediction: Nevada 35 … Louisiana Tech 30
Click For Latest Line From ATS: Nevada -7
Nov. 19 Utah State 49 … at Idaho 42 2OT
CFN Analysis: COMING
(AP) MOSCOW, Idaho -- Robert Turbin rushed for 210 yards and three touchdowns, including the go-ahead score in the second overtime, to lead Utah State to a 49-42 victory against Idaho on Saturday.
After Turbin's 2-yard scoring run put them in front, the Aggies (5-5, 3-2 Western Athletic) secured the win when linebacker Bobby Wagner intercepted Idaho's Brandon Reader on fourth down.
Reader was 27 of 39 for 275 yards and a touchdown for the Vandals (2-9, 1-5).
Linebacker Korey Toomer, who carries the ball for Idaho in short-yardage situations, scored from 1 yard out to tie the score at 35-35 in regulation, then had a 2-yard TD run in the first overtime. Utah State answered in OT when Turbin scored on a 1-yard rush.
Adam Kennedy was 13 of 18 for 182 yards and an interception for the Aggies.
Kama Bailey had 23 carries for 110 yards for Idaho.
Utah State (4-5) at Idaho (2-8) November 19th, 5 PM ET
Here’s The Deal … Idaho hosts the Utah State Aggies in a WAC rivalry game. The teams have split the past six meetings, with Idaho winning last season’s game 28-6.
Utah State has had a much better season than their 4-5 record indicates. The Aggies have led in every game this year but had trouble closing out games early in the season. However,Utah State has corrected this recently, rallying from halftime deficits to win in each of the last two weeks. The Aggies need to win this game in order to head to their first bowl game since 1997.
On other hand, Idaho has failed to turn things around this season. A week after rallying for 22 points in a fourth quarter win over San Jose State, the Vandals were pummeled by BYU 42-7. Despite the loss, Idaho continues to improve each week, especially in the running game. With a win over Utah State, the Vandals can get a signature win to build on for the 2012 season.
Why Utah State Might Win: Will anyone be able to stop the Aggie ground game this season? Despite playing a brutal schedule that included Auburn and BYU, Utah State ranks sixth in the nation in rushing, averaging 269.8 yards per game and a whopping 6 yards per carry. This trend should continue again this week against Idaho. Even though the Vandals have fared well against the run most of the season (3.7 yards per carry), they did allow 243 yards to BYU last week.
Why Idaho Might Win: Over the last two weeks, the Vandals have finally found their running game, recording season highs in rushing in each of the past two weeks. The emergence of the running game will take some of the pressure off Idaho’s struggling QB’s, and allow them to mix things up. While the Utah State defense does not have any obvious weaknesses, teams that used variety on offense have given them the most trouble.
What To Watch Out For: Utah State will do what it does best, and pound the rock right at the Idaho defense. Even though the Aggies have a talented group of running backs, keep an eye on Robert Turbin. Turbin is the difference maker of the offense, averaging 116 yards per game, and an outstanding 6.5 yards per carry.
For Idaho to win this game, they must stop the run. To stop the run, the Vandals will rely on senior LB TreShawn Robinson. Robinson is the heart and soul of the defense, ranking fifth in the conference with 88 tackles. He was also the key to Idaho’s 28-6 win over the Aggies last season by recording 12 tackles.
What Will Happen: Utah State will seize control of the game from the opening whistle, establishing themselves on both lines of scrimmage. Idaho will withstand the initial surge, and hang around for a little while, but will not be able to keep up. The Aggies win convincingly and even up their record at 5-5.
CFN Prediction: Utah State 35 … Idaho 14
Click For Latest Line From ATS: Utah State -10
Nov. 19 Fresno State 24 … at Hawaii 21
CFN Analysis: COMING
(AP) HONOLULU -- Derek Carr threw for 271 yards and two scores to lead Fresno State to a 24-21 win over Hawaii on Saturday night.
The Bulldogs (4-7, 3-3 WAC) scored the game's first 17 points, then allowed 21 straight by the Warriors (5-6, 3-4) before scoring the game-winning touchdown early in the fourth quarter to snap a three-game losing skid.
Carr completed 19 of 29 attempts with no interceptions. Robbie Rouse rushed for a season-high 176 yards for Fresno State, which scored on its first three drives.
The Warriors took the lead with 6:28 remaining in the third quarter on David Graves' 69-yard touchdown pass to Billy Ray Stutzmann.
Two plays into the fourth quarter, Carr hooked up with Josh Harper on a 43-yard scoring strike that proved to be the game winner. Harper beat the cornerback on the post route and Carr's pass was just out of the reach of the leaping safety.
Fresno State (3-7) at Hawaii (3-5) Nov. 19, 11:00, ESPN3
Here’s The Deal … It’s been a disastrous season for both teams with things getting a worse for each last week. Hawaii lost quarterback Bryant Moniz to a broken leg early on in the loss to Nevada, and now it’ll take two wins in the final three games to get another home game in the bowl. On the plus side, the final three games are at home with Tulane and BYU to close things out, but home field advantage hasn’t meant what it usually has for a Warrior attack that doesn’t have the same passing pop as normal. The defense has been solid, but it hasn’t been able to hold up in key moments in close losses to San Jose State and Utah State, and now it’s desperation time.
At least Hawaii is in the hunt for a bowl, while Fresno State has been a disaster with five losses in the last six thanks to a defense that’s gone bye-bye and an offense that can’t seem to come up with the consistency needed to make up for all the other problems. The team hasn’t quit, but it’s just not that good and now it’s playing out the string with San Jose State and San Diego State to close things out.
Why Fresno State Might Win: Hawaii’s offense hasn’t been up to its normal snuff, and now it has to try to go on without Moniz, at least until a bowl game, if there is one. If Fresno State’s passing game can roll like it did against New Mexico State, and if it can get hot early, the Warriors could have a few problems keeping up. Defensively, Fresno State has been a major disappointment rushing the passer, but it shouldn’t have an issue this week against an offensive line that’s getting the quarterback popped early and often. It didn’t matter last week against New Mexico State though because …
Why Hawaii Might Win: The Fresno State secondary has been a disaster. It wasn’t a rock over the first part of the season, but it’s gone into the tank over the last few weeks giving up 313 yards to Nevada, 402 yards and four scores to Louisiana Tech, and 367 yards and two touchdowns to New Mexico State and coming up with just one pick in the last eight games. Hawaii should have its chances to capitalize on easy points, and it won’t have to worry much about takeaways against a Fresno team that’s second-to-last in the nation in turnover margin.
What To Watch Out For: Can Shane Austin save the Hawaii season? The 6-0, 200-pound senior got in a little bit of mop-up work last year, and he stepped in last week for an injured Moniz throwing for 246 yards and a score, but he also threw three picks. Smart and with a good arm, he might not be the baller that Moniz is, but he’s a good, sound passer who should be able to spread the ball around against the bad Fresno State secondary.
Fresno State will bomb away with Derek Carr coming into his own. The season might be awful, but Carr is proving to be a player to build around with three touchdown passes in each of his last three games highlighted by a 391-yard day against New Mexico State. He’s been able to keep the mistakes and the picks to a minimum, but he has to start leading the way to wins. Unfortunately, he has to make up for the problems on defense by bombing away even more.
What Will Happen: The two teams will combine for over 700 yards of passing in a wild and fun shootout with neither team coming up with a stop. Austin will be just good enough to take advantage of the disastrous Fresno State secondary, with the home field coming into play a bit. The Warriors won’t look great, but they’ll be the lesser of two evils.
CFN Prediction: Hawaii 48 … Fresno State 41
Click For Latest Line From ATS: Hawaii -5.5 O/U: 62
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